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Nusheen Ameenuddin, MD, FAAP, was promoted to chair of the Council on Communications and Media at American Academy of Pediatrics

Nathan Chomilo, MD, FAAP, was a recent guest on the “What is Black?” podcast, discussing early literacy, racial and health equity. You can hear the podcast here.

Brian Lynch, MD, FAAP, was interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio as part of the “Call to Mind” mental health exhibit. Dr. Lynch spoke about adverse childhood experiences and how early trauma can affect kids, adults, and public health.

Angela Mattke, MD, FAAP, was interviewed by WGN – Chicago about her new book “Mayo Clinic Guide to Raising a Healthy Child.” You can see the interview here.

MNAAP President-Elect Sheldon Berkowitz, MD, FAAP, represented the chapter at the recent signing of the Rare Disease Advisory Council bill, at the request of Erica Barnes, who advocated for the council’s creation after the death of her young daughter from a rare degenerative neural disorder.

Kathleen Miller, MD, FAAP, authored a counterpoint opinion article that was published in the Star Tribune, providing insight into the value of gender affirming care after the Children’s Minnesota’s gender health program was called risky and unnecessary by a previous letter to the editor.

After reading a Pioneer Press article about an 8-year-old girl who found her mom’s gun in her backpack,  MNAAP President-elect Sheldon Berkowitz, MD, FAAP, wrote a letter to the editor to make sure everyone knows the “4 simple steps to keep guns out of kids’ hands.”

Tom Scott, MD, FAAP, has been invited by the Children’s Defense Fund to serve on the 2019 Minnesota KIDS COUNT advisory group.

MNAAP President-Elect Sheldon Berkowitz, MD, FAAP, authored an article in The American Jewish World advocating for rabbis and Jewish community leaders to take a stand for immunizations to protect children from measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases. Read the full article here.

Nathan Chomilo, MD, FAAP, was joined by Cuong Pham, MD, at the Capitol on Wednesday, May 15, to advocate for the repeal of the sunset of the Provider Tax. You can see coverage from KARE11 of their efforts here.

Nathan Chomilo, MD, FAAP, testified on May 10 before a legislative conference committee on behalf of Reach Out and Read MN’s inclusion in the education funding budget. You can see his testimony here (beginning at the 35:00 mark).

Sue Berry, MD, FAAP, co-chair of the MNAAP policy workgroup, authored a commentary about the provider tax in the Star Tribune.

Nathan Chomilo, MD, FAAP, authored a letter to the editor in the Sun Post advocating for the repeal of the sunset of Minnesota’s provider tax.

Ann Sneiders, MD, FAAP, offered an evidence-based rebuttal to a previously published anti-vaccination letter to the editor in the Owatonna People’s Press. In her letter, Dr. Sneiders pointed to the importance of immunizations in preventing illness, writing “immune systems are like muscles — they need exercise to get strong.”

MNAAP President Lori DeFrance, MD, FAAP and three other MNAAP members will attend the American Academy of Pediatrics 2019 Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, April 7-9. During the conference, participants will learn how to become effective child health advocates through interactive workshops and in-depth training sessions, while networking with pediatricians, residents and medical students from across the country.

Nathan Chomilo, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician and internist at Park Nicollet, attended the April 3 State of the State address as a guest of Governor Tim Walz. Walz mentioned Dr. Chomilo’s work in his speech to emphasize the importance of repealing the sunset of the Provider Tax.

Angela Kade Goepferd, MD, FAAP, recently spoke to the Star Tribune about the opening of Children’s Minnesota’s clinic for transgender youth. Dr. Goepferd serves as medical director of the clinic. Read the article here: http://www.startribune.com/children-s-minnesota-opens-special-clinic-for-transgender-youth/508011532/ 

Emily Chapman, MD, FAAP, chief medical officer at Children’s Minnesota, spoke at a press conference in support of the Breakfast After the Bell legislation, which would make it easier for children to get breakfast at school.

Robert Jacobson, MD, FAAP, an expert in childhood vaccines at Mayo Clinic, was interviewed by the Louisville Courier Journal after the governor of Kentucky said he favors exposure to chickenpox over vaccination. Read the article here https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/2019/03/20/matt-bevin-exposed-kids-chickenpox-instead-vaccine/3221848002/

Emily Borman-Shoap, MD, testified before the Senate Higher Education Finance & Policy Committee on March 5 in support of SF 1702 (Clausen), which would provide funding to support mental health training for pediatric residents at the University of Minnesota.

Nathan Chomilo, MD, FAAP, testified on behalf of HF 909, which would provide funding to address racial disparities in prenatal care.

Past MNAAP President Andrew Kiragu, MD, FAAP, recently testified in support of HF 8, which would require criminal background checks for private firearm sales and transfers and HF 9, also known as the “red flag” bill, which would allow law enforcement and family members to petition a court to prohibit people from possessing firearms if they pose a significant danger to themselves or others.

An op-ed written by Nathan Chomilo, MD, FAAP, arguing the case for paid family medical leave, was printed in the Star Tribune on Feb. 25.

Past MNAAP President Mike Severson, MD, FAAP, and Children’s Defense Fund Minnesota Executive Director Bharti Wahi penned a great opinion piece encouraging lawmakers to repeal the sunset of the provider tax.

Past MNAAP President Marilyn Peitso, MD, FAAP, testified on Feb. 13 before the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee in support of House File 12, a bill that would ban “conversion therapy” for children or vulnerable adults in Minnesota. You can view her testimony here.

Nathan Chomilo, MD, FAAP, was selected by the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights to receive the 2019 History Makers at Home Award. The award honors African American leaders throughout the state who are making a difference in their communities in the areas of the business, health, education, government, and more. Dr. Chomilo was highlighted on the department’s Facebook page as part of a series introducing the award winners.

Angela Goepferd, MD, FAAP, spoke to KARE 11 about the impact online hate speech can have on children.

Lindsey Yock, MD, JD, FAAP, co-chair of MNAAP’s policy committee, testified about childhood hunger and health on Feb.5, 2019 before the House Education Finance Committee as part of an informational hearing on school nutrition. Her testimony is available at http://ww2.house.leg.state.mn.us/audio/mp3ls91/edfin020519.mp3 (beginning at 44:40).

Lucien Gonzalez, MD, MS, FAAP, was named chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatric’s national committee on Substance Use and Prevention. The committee is tasked with producing guidance for pediatricians, state and federal government, and other stakeholders to reduce harm from substance use.

Nathan Chomilo, MD, FAAP, medical director of Reach Out and Read Minnesota, congratulated Minneapolis on becoming the country’s largest “Bookend City” in the country, meaning all 32 clinics in the city have chosen to participate in Reach Out and Read. Additionally, clinics had to meet eight quality measures, which included at least 75% of providers being trained in the model and every clinic creating a literacy-rich environment for their patients. All together in Minnesota, there are 262 clinics now participating in Reach Out and Read, representing 40% of all children ages 6 months through 5 years statewide.

Gigi Chawla, MD, MHA, FAAP chief of general pediatrics at Children’s Minnesota, participated in a panel discussion following the Minnesota premiere of No Small Matter. The documentary focuses on the importance of high-quality early childhood education in child development. The screening was hosted by Children’s Minnesota, Minnesota Public Radio, and HealthPartners.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee hosted MNAAP President-elect Sheldon Berkowitz, MD, FAAP, for a discussion of the health impact of screen time on children and adolescents on January 24. Dr. Berkowitz shared with the committee the most recent research about screen time and its impact on child health and brain development. Dr. Berkowitz’s testimony can be viewed at the link available here.

Nathan Chomilo, MD, FAAP, co-authored a commentary in Minnesota Medicine focusing on the small but significant steps all physicians can take to make a difference in addressing health equity in Minnesota. Read the article here.

MNAAP President-elect Sheldon Berkowitz, MD, FAAP, offered the Star Tribune insight into Minnesota’s drop in national health rankings, particularly where low childhood vaccination rates are concerned. Read the article here.

Robert Jacobson, MD, FAAP, past MNAAP president, pediatrician, and professor of pediatrics at Mayo Clinic, has been selected as Minnesota’s 2018 HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion for his continual efforts to promote HPV vaccination and its power to prevent cancer. For his 13 to 15-year-old patients seen in the last two years, 71.2 percent have completed the HPV vaccine series as compared to only about 19.5 percent of 13 to 15-year-olds statewide completing the recommended HPV series.

Read more about the work Dr. Jacobson has done to improve HPV vaccination rates.

A recent study published in Pediatrics involving the four children’s hospitals in Minnesota looked at the cause of delayed discharge in children with medical complexity. Of 1,582 delayed discharges, 92 percent were directly attributed to lack of availability in home care nursing. The study suggests that increasing the availability of home care nurses or post-acute care facilities could reduce the length of hospital stay and associated costs. Roy Maynard, MD, FAAP with Pediatric Home Service oversaw the study.

Ruth Lynfield, MD, FAAP, Minnesota Department of Health State Epidemiologist and Medical Director, was named co-chair on CDC‘s Acute Flaccid Myelitis Task Force.

Claire Neely, MD, FAAP was named President and CEO of ICSI.

Rachel Tellez, MD, FAAP wrote a letter published in the Washington Post about the role physicians play in reducing gun violence.

Nadia Maccabee-Ryaboy, MD testified in support of T21 at the Eden Prairie City Council. It successfully moved forward to a final vote the following month.

Nate Chomilo, MD, FAAP partnered with Twin Cities Medical Society to write a letter published in the Sun Post regarding Brooklyn Center’s T21 and E-cig sale restriction legislation. Both restrictions were voted in to place the same week.

Following a national search, UCare has hired Julia Joseph DiCaprio, MD, MPH, FAAP to lead the Medical Director team, as well as the Clinical Services, Pharmacy and Quality Management departments.

Lucien Gonzalez, MD, MS, FAAP, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota and a Pediatric Addiction Medicine expert, was recognized by the AAP Section on Adolescent Health as the recipient of the Richard B. Heyman Award at the recent AAP National Conference & Exhibition.

Marc H. Gorelick, MD, MSCE, FAAP, President and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Minnesota was presented with the Jim Seidel Distinguished Service Award from the AAP’s Section on Emergency Medicine at the recent AAP National Conference & Exhibition.

Angela Mattke, MD, FAAP, with Mayo Clinic wrote an article for AAP News recently that provided tips for pediatricians on connecting with the public via Facebook Live Stream. Check it out»

Rachel Tellez, MD, FAAP, wrote an article about how to teach children about differences that was featured in the April issue of Minnesota Parent. Check it out»

Nate Chomilo, MD, FAAP, was awarded the Gretchen Hunsberger Medical Champion Achievement Award from Reach out and Read. Additionally, he and Judith Eckerle, MD, FAAP, were profiled in Mpls.St.Paul Magazine for the Top Docs: Rising Stars edition. Check it out»

Mary Murati, MD, FAAP was recognized with the Bill Richards Young Physician Leadership Award by Park Nicollet Foundation. Since 2009, Dr. Murati has been a Park Nicollet Pediatric Hospitalist, with a keen eye for quality improvement.

Elsa Keeler, MD, MPH, FAAP, was recently named Clinic Medical Director at the HealthPartners White Bear Lake clinic.

Updated 4/4/19

June 13, 2019

Lindsey Yock serves on the chapter’s Board of Directors, acting as co-chair of MNAAP’s policy committee. She has been an AAP member since 2011 and works at Children’s Minnesota. Dr. Yock answered these questions from Minnesota Pediatrician as part of our quarterly member spotlight.

You’re an attorney and a physician. How do these two roles intersect for you in your work?

I attended the Joint Degree program in Law, Health and the Life Sciences at the University of Minnesota, receiving my law degree in 2008 and my medical degree in 2011. After finishing residency at Mayo, I stayed in Rochester for a year as chief resident. Since 2015, I have been at Children’s Minnesota as both a pediatric hospitalist and an adjunct attorney.

My position consists of clinical work (80%) and assignments through the office of the General Counsel (20%). In my legal role, I am a member of the Institutional Review Board (IRB), where my familiarity with federal regulations can be helpful, and I consult on various initiatives and projects, such as our onsite healthcare-legal partnership and the legal implications of clinical practice guidelines that Children’s develops. This year, on behalf of the Children’s advocacy team, I testified at a hearing at the state capitol in support of a program to reduce childhood hunger.

More informally, these two roles intersect daily on the wards when I’m working with social workers and staff attorneys to address problems that affect vulnerable families, including guardianship and family law matters, immigration status, and landlord-tenant issues.

What does a typical day at Children’s Minnesota look like for you (or just a typical work day)?

When I’m on clinical service, I’m either seeing patients on my own or working with our teaching services, which I love because of the energy, curiosity, and competence of the residents and students who rotate at Children’s.

When I’m not on service, my days are more varied. In addition to preparing for and attending bi-weekly IRB meetings, my days typically involve collaborating with various members of the health system, working independently on projects that I’m responsible for, and occasionally testifying or otherwise speaking about child health issues.

What interests you about your work on the MNAAP policy committee?

University Dean Kathy Watson introduced me to a wonderful quote from physician Rudolf Virchow: “If medicine is to fulfill her great task, then she must enter the political and social life. . . . The physicians are the natural attorneys of the poor.”

The MNAAP policy committee provides a meaningful way to engage in political and social issues that relate to the health and wellbeing of our patients. Through the Chapter, the policy committee, and all the wonderful people who support its advocacy work, we are able to deal directly with legislators and others in state and local government to champion Minnesota’s children. As one example, at the invitation of Representative Frank Hornstein and Senator Scott Dibble, whom I met during MNAAP Peds Day at the Capitol, I provided information and perspective at a MN Congressional District 61 Town Hall in 2017, when Minnesota children were at risk because of possible cuts to Medicaid.

In short, working with the MNAAP policy committee, and as a member of the MNAAP board, I get to consider issues that involve both law and medicine, and I get to contribute to discussions that affect society beyond individual patients.

What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?

Although I’m a lawyer and enjoy debate, I am not temperamentally litigious!

What would a perfect day be like for you?

After the winter we’ve just had, it would start out with low humidity, uninterrupted sunshine and a temperature in the 70s. I would open the newspaper to headlines proclaiming that vaccination rates in the United States are at an all-time high; confidence in science and physician experts is robust; childhood homelessness, food insecurity and socioeconomic disparity have fallen to unmeasurable levels; and every child feels loved and supported and excited about their future. The day would include meaningful work with my excellent colleagues (my current reality). Then it would end with an episode of “Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!” and wonderful food with loved ones.

November 5, 2018

You have a degree in philosophy and a minor in athletic training. When did you know you wanted to be a pediatrician? How has your background in these areas shaped the way you practice medicine?

I’ve been telling my family that I was going to be a pediatrician since I was about three. I went to college intending to major in philosophy and minor in chemistry with the plan of going to medical school. I’ve always enjoyed thinking and asking questions as an end in and of themselves, and I believed philosophy was a great stepping stone to any discipline if I changed my mind about medicine, as well as a great way to learn about logic and humanity at the same time. I ended up getting hurt while a member of the college swimming and diving team, hitting the water just wrong on a foreword jump (not even a dive!) in practice my freshman year, sending my back into spasm. I ended up having to drop chemistry and take incompletes in all of my classes because I was unable to sit for more than a few minutes, and had a great deal of trouble even walking. I spent a lot of time in the training room and developed an interest there. Two weeks before the start of my senior year I decided I really did want to go to medical school. Because of my AT minor, I already had biology and physics, so I changed my class schedule for my senior year around and took general chemistry my senior year. For college graduation, my dad paid my tuition for me to take organic chemistry the summer after graduation. I took the August MCAT and started applying to medical schools. I started in Duluth the following fall.

As I started medical school, I thought I wanted to be a family physician, and I was even the Assistant Student Director for the MAFP, largely because I wanted to do OB. Eventually, I figured out that what I liked about OB was the babies, not the moms necessarily. When I told my mentor, I thought he would be shocked to hear that I was choosing peds. His response was, “Oh, thank goodness… I was starting to think I was going to have to tell you that you’re a pediatrician, not a family physician.”

What drew you to Willmar?
I am passionate about rural primary care, and I really wanted to be in a small town where I could be a true “community pediatrician” – well child care, newborn care (especially sick newborns), hospital medicine, complex care, etc. I grew up in Rochester, but was a camper and later I was on staff at a summer camp near Longville, MN. I got sick one year when I was at camp and I had to go to the doctor. I was shocked that we had to drive 45 minutes just to be told that I had an ear infection. I couldn’t believe that it was possible for people in my own state to have such difficulty accessing health care, and ever since then, I wanted to work in a rural setting.

What does a day in your life as a rural practitioner look like?
We do a broad variety of everything out here – normal newborns, sick newborns, feeder/growers transferred back from the NICU, healthy children, mental health, complex care, etc. If my patient is having a problem with their g-tube, I am the only person who can trouble shoot, and for a long time I was the only person comfortable changing g-tubes, because the home care nurses weren’t comfortable with it and the parents weren’t taught how. We also often have to be the eyes and ears of the specialists who see our patients. I have a 6-month-old patient with congenital diaphragmatic hernia. There have been several times when her specialists have commented, “If they didn’t live two hours away, I’d have the family bring her in just to take a look at her.” That’s not possible, so they come in to see me, and I communicate with her specialists what I’m seeing and we make up a plan together.

Describe the biggest benefits to working with your current patient population.
I love my Somali families. They are so generous of spirit, and so very appreciative that someone will take the time to listen to their concerns about their children. I also love the interconnectedness of all of my patients and families. Everyone knows everyone, and my patient’s families become my family.

What’s the funniest thing a child ever said to you?
“If you’re not supposed to eat your boogers, how come they taste so good?” I find there are two types of adults in this world: those who hear that, get a look of disgust on their face and say, “That is so gross!” and those who say, “You know, the kid had a point.”

You’ve been a strong advocate for drowning prevention, oral health and immunizations. Can you describe your involvement in these initiatives? Why are you passionate about these issues? Are there any other issues you have or are currently involved in?
The short answer is that I am not very good at saying “no,” but that’s only part of the reason I’ve gotten involved in all of these things. Several years ago, we had two Somali boys drown here in Willmar. The year prior, one of my Somali patients was involved in a near drowning. The children in our community are not just my patients, they are my friends’ kids, and for many of them, I think of them as my own children. I grew up with a love of the water, and I wanted to make sure children in our community could grow up learning to love it, too. I have served on the Advisory Board for a HRSA Healthy Tomorrows grant with Rice Regional Dental Clinic. Our goal was to increase access to a dental home for children, and to increase awareness of the importance of early oral care. Through my work on the Southern Prairie Community Care Somali Health Task Force, I was invited to speak at the mosque about the MMR vaccine during the 2017 measles outbreak, and have spoken at the mosque a couple of times since then about immunizations. I’m passionate about these things because these are my kids too.

For many years, I have been very interested in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH). I do a lot of mental health as a part of my practice, and it has always been clear to me that many of the problems I’m treating have their roots in early childhood. Through my upbringing, I saw how much difference it makes to have loving, supportive parents. I am where I am today because largely because my dad was determined that my life would be different than his was, and different from some of my cousins. He is a remarkable man who always taught me that children have a lot to tell us and teach us, if we just take the time to listen.

This fall I started a Master’s program in Applied Child and Adolescent Development through the Institute of Child Development (ICD) at the U of MN in the IECMH track. It is terrifying being back in school after so many years, but I am learning a lot, and it has changed the way I understand my patients.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Not much spare time since school started! I like to read, crochet, and spend time with friends and family. I also love to sail, and I hope to get a Sunfish one of these years so I can spend my weekends, when I am not on call, out on the water.

June 6, 2018

Neglia_2017_Lobby UMMCH (002)

You’re the physician-in-chief at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. You’re also involved in childhood cancer research. What does a typical day or week look like for you?

The days and weeks all vary a lot. Last week was spent doing work at our Children’s Oncology Group meeting in St. Louis. The focus for those 3 days was on pediatric oncology, our clinical trials operations, and planning for further research.

This week will be many more administrative meetings that will cover a wide variety of topics from clinic operations to academic recruitments. I continue to do my weekly clinic and to attend on the heme/onc service here at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital as well, so interspersed in all of this is clinical work.

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February 6, 2018

Angela ErdichWhat made you decide to become a pediatrician? Describe your journey into medicine.
I am from a small town in North Dakota and we had some pretty great role models for doctors, very dedicated people. I am an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe. My mother really wanted her children to work for the Indian Health Service (IHS), and as it turns out, three of us ended up with dedicated careers in the IHS.

My pediatric rotation was on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona with a really great group of pediatricians. I met those people and felt immediately inspired to do what they were doing. My husband and I worked as pediatricians on reservations from 1997-2009, then he commuted to work on my home reservation in North Dakota until 2017. In 2010 I started working at the Indian Health Board (IHB) of Minneapolis, focusing on the urban American Indian population.

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November 13, 2017

When did you know you wanted to become a pediatrician?
When I went to medical school, it was only to be a pediatrician. I had long known children were amazing, and I wanted to spend my life surrounded by them. And I adored partnering with the parents who loved them to help bring comfort. The worst part of medical school was suffering through all those adult rotations. Ugh. I don’t know how those guys do it!

You were recently named Children’s new CMO. What are you most excited to work on in this role?
The privilege that I have in this role is the chance to impact our culture – who we are, what we bring to work, and what we offer those we touch. These are terribly challenging times in medicine, but if we remember why we’re here, and who we’re here with, the calling will grab us all over again. If we see our potential, we will realize it. I’d like to help people see it.

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